Update: Three people hurt in 3-car 3rd/Olson crash

(Photo by Deanie Schwarz for WSB)
3:56 PM: Big emergency response to 3rd SW/Olson Place (map) just past the east end of Roxbury – there’s a crash that went out as an “automobile rescue” call. Our crew is there and we’ll have more shortly – for now, though, avoid the area, which is a busy route to and from Highway 509.

4:44 PM: From WSB contributor Deanie Schwarz – Three people were taken to the hospital with serious injuries. The road is not likely to clear any time soon.

(Photo by Katie Meyer for WSB)
5:19 PM: A total of three vehicles were involved, according to WSB contributor Katie Meyer. She says fire crews had to cut the top off one car to get the patient out safely. Still no word when the road might reopen.

8:38 PM: If you haven’t seen this in comments already – the road has reopened.

10:32 PM: It apparently then closed again – but is now reported as reopened. Meantime, police have published their account to SPD Blotter:

On November 11th at approximately 3:23 p.m. officers responded to the area of Olson Place SW and SW Cambridge Place for a multiple-vehicle head on collision with life-threatening injuries.

Preliminary investigation indicates that a 51-year-old male was driving westbound in his Nissan Pathfinder. The driver crossed the centerline and struck a 1999 Saturn head on. The driver of the Saturn, a 22-year-old male, was transported to Harborview Medical Center by SFD medics with non-life-threatening injuries.

The Pathfinder then spun around and was struck on the driver’s side by an eastbound, on-coming Toyota Camry. The Camry was being driven by a 63-year-old female, who was subsequently transported to Harborview Medical Center by SFD medics with life-threatening injuries. The driver of the Pathfinder was transported to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

Officers evaluated the driver of the Pathfinder for signs of impairment due to alcohol and/or drugs. A blood draw was performed and the laboratory results are pending further investigation.

There were no citations issued at the scene, which is standard procedure in traffic incidents involving serious injuries, and that subsequently require collision reconstruction and extensive follow up investigation.

Traffic Collision Investigation Squad detectives responded to the scene and continue to actively investigate.

The road was closed in both directions and traffic re-routed so detectives could effectively conduct their on-scene investigation.

37 Replies to "Update: Three people hurt in 3-car 3rd/Olson crash"

  • jim November 11, 2011 (4:21 pm)

    Went through there at 3:45. Olson place did not have a police detour, but looking up the hill at the mass of emergency vehicles, every one decided to detour through the park and ride and continue South on Meyers Way.

    • WSB November 11, 2011 (4:29 pm)


  • Lisa Hegle (Boettger) November 11, 2011 (4:51 pm)

    Does anyone know the make of the car involved? My daughter was traveling that road about that time and I can’t reach her?!

  • Arch November 11, 2011 (4:57 pm)

    My husband was in a bad car accident in the same exact location a few years ago. This road might need to be looked at by SDOT soon. I plan to send them an email.

  • jtd November 11, 2011 (4:59 pm)

    It’s a messy intersection with a lot of confused drivers, and the officers are sitting in their cars instead of directing traffic.

  • Re-Elect Obama! November 11, 2011 (5:27 pm)

    Hope all involved are ok and everyone had insurance.

  • born, raised, & still in ws November 11, 2011 (5:35 pm)

    I hope that all involved are okay and Lisa, I hope you are able to reach your daughter soon and that she was not involved. Hopefully she is just stuck in the traffic mess trying to get around the accident scene. I wish those involved speedy recoveries.

  • craig November 11, 2011 (5:44 pm)

    That stretch is particularly slick when wet, especially coming up the hill. Yes, SDOT should take a look at accident trends and road particulars.

  • Just a teen November 11, 2011 (5:47 pm)

    Lisa, did you reach your daughter?

  • christopher November 11, 2011 (5:49 pm)

    we’ve lived very near that area for about 4 months now and have probably seen a dozen accidents – several quite serious. I think people speed around that corner and lose control coming down the hill. SDOT needs to do something for sure given what we’ve seen in just a short time. I hope today’s folks recover soon.

  • AJP November 11, 2011 (6:08 pm)

    People always go way to fast going downhill as well and when it’s slick it’s hard to brake!

  • Valerie November 11, 2011 (6:20 pm)

    Right with ya, AJP – I’ve had near misses of the My Own D*mn Fault variety heading down that hill, usually when I’m focused on (read: late!) catching a bus at the P&R. It’s so steep, it’s treacherous when it’s wet and there’s very little room for error in braking if traffic is backed up.

    I wish all the injured a speedy recovery. Lisa, have you heard from your daughter?

  • whatdoesittake November 11, 2011 (6:22 pm)

    WHEN are they going to take care of all the oil on that hill??? All my neighbors with motorcycles avoid that hill. I have reported it to SDOT, even stopped at two separate incidents there to talk to the police officers who were directing traffic around crashes. Those officers said they have known about this dangerously greasy hill for some time! Check the WSB and you will see multiple wrecks in this very same place, almost always when it rains after a few clear days. Don’t even need speeding cars, just a little braking can lead to the spin out. Maybe a lawsuit would wake them up. Hopefully someone doesn’t have to die first.

  • Kermit November 11, 2011 (6:30 pm)


    you mean those cops were sitting in their cars during a rainstorm?!? And expecting you to know that all their flashing lights mean ‘don’t drive this way’?? Of all the nerve!!

  • mookie November 11, 2011 (6:31 pm)

    Heard over the scanner, for what it’s worth, that this accident was caused by driver #1 who was coming uphill, crossing into the oncoming lanes for unknown reasons and hitting the two other vehicles. As of 6:29 pm it sounds like they still have part of the hill blocked off, too.

  • King Kyle November 11, 2011 (6:34 pm)

    Still closed, cops are out of their vehicles, flares are burning and the road is clear. Alternate routes are slow going for a mile or so.

  • Lisa Hegle (Boettger) November 11, 2011 (6:50 pm)

    Just a teen; Yes, she’s OK thank you.

  • Jtd November 11, 2011 (7:09 pm)

    @Kermit –

    My point was that folks should avoid the area since traffic was unmanaged while I was at the upper intersection. Admittedly, I was frustrated that the officers weren’t assisting, but I didn’t mean to be disrespectful.

    FYI, it was not raining and no flashing lights were visible from either arterial. Please re-consider your quick judgment and unnecessary attitude.

  • Kermit November 11, 2011 (7:24 pm)


    you must have been Johnny on the spot then cuz if there were no lights and officers not yet directing traffic, then the officers had just gotten there and hadn’t had time to formulate a game plan. All the more reason for you to remain patient in a dynamic situation and realize that you getting from A to B is probably of secondary concern to all right-thinking individuals. Your ensuing blog post reveals your own self-centered attitude, sir, not mine.

  • Deanie Schwarz November 11, 2011 (7:49 pm)

    The road is open again.

  • MeanDean November 11, 2011 (7:52 pm)

    Why does the DOT have to “do something” about the hill when its the fault of “drivers?” who have exactly zero safe driving skills and therefore no justifiable right to be behind the wheel in the first place? Congestion is ten times what it used to be say 20 years ago, and yet the driving tests are about the same as they were 50 years ago. As long as we turn anyone loose on the roads who can turn a wheel and stand on a pedal we are going to have needless crashes. Time to upgrade the skills and standards of our “drivers”.

  • MmeFab November 11, 2011 (8:19 pm)

    Came through that way just now (8:10pm) not knowing about all this – road is still closed and a tow truck had just arrived at the bottom of the closure (near 3rd?).

  • Just a teen November 11, 2011 (8:20 pm)

    Okay, good to hear it!! (:

  • simmerdown November 11, 2011 (8:22 pm)

    I was also there when the cops were sitting there just watching the confusion over which way to go when 2 lanes had to turn right to detour, no rain at that time, and the sarcasm was uncalled for in the “of all the nerve” response, let’s keep the blog friendly and civil and our undies unbunched

  • Deanie Schwarz November 11, 2011 (8:58 pm)

    MmeFab – thank you for posting that. According to my GPS, they have indeed closed the road again.I’ll keep watching.

  • beth November 11, 2011 (9:06 pm)

    Just drove through and Roxbury is still closed.

  • Deanie Schwarz November 11, 2011 (10:05 pm)

    It is 10:05 and Olsen Place is now open again.

  • Alki Resident November 11, 2011 (10:11 pm)

    If it’s still closed,doesn’t that usually mean a fatality?

  • Thomco November 11, 2011 (11:21 pm)

    I asked a cop at the scene wh the road was closed. She said there had been a fatality.

    • WSB November 12, 2011 (7:20 am)

      Just a note – I still don’t have confirmation of anyone having died. Police usually won’t even comment on that as it’s a matter between the hospital and medical examiner. Last time we had a fatal crash (the motorcycle wreck on the West Seattle Bridge), I was only able to confirm the death with Harborview because someone had sent me the victim’s name. If any confirmation either way is available over the weekend, we’ll update the story – TR

  • Miss Piggy November 12, 2011 (12:44 am)

    First off, so sorry to hear someone lost their life…

    @ Kermit,
    It was not raining, the police were NOT doing their job, they were sitting in their car. Civilians were directing traffic great before the PD showed up. PD is supposed to keep order, as well as protect and serve…my point is…I don’t care what job you have, but you should DO your job….PD or whatever

  • Becky November 12, 2011 (12:50 am)

    My husband and I drove by minutes after this happened, before emergency personnel arrived. It brought tears to my eyes – not from the horrific scene itself, but those assisting the victims. There were people covering the victims in coats, talking to them and keeping them calm, comforting them any way they could. Other people were directing traffic. It really made me feel proud I live in this area. I just hope everyone pulls through.

  • stuck in traffic November 12, 2011 (7:36 am)

    agree with meandean, accidents are caused, they just don’t happen. Sounds like drug and or alcohol were involed, take that element away this likly does not happen, factor in a cell phone, text message if they were involved and is it any wonder. Then add weather and road conditions perfect receipe for a bad thing to happen.
    slow down, dont drink and drive, and HANG UP

    this winter the passes will be bad, so sdot should just tell the snow gods to make it stop snowing??

  • GenHillOne November 12, 2011 (7:47 am)

    I know it’s a fine line and am not advocating for gruesome photos, but whenever there is an accident reported on WSB, I always wish it included the make & model/color of vehicle/s (if available, of course). Much like Lisa above, I have folks I want to check on and I suspect there are others who would do the same. In this case, the photos and the police report provided even more details, but any chance that would be considered? Simply something like “we’re on the scene of one-car accident involving a blue Dodge sedan?” I know it sounds a little small-town, but in some ways, WS is kind of like our own small town, isn’t it? I hope all involved have a speedy recovery.

  • puppypalace November 13, 2011 (1:48 pm)

    I continue to shake my head at this particular stretch day after day. Probably 2 times a week I see an accident when coming home from W. Sea. It baffles me why so many are going uphill when they crash! Yes, the merging lane near the 509 ramp is annoying and everyone HAS to be first up the darn hill and pass pass pass…can’t do anything about the people with impatience and rude personalities, but the accidents are farther up – often at the second light.

    If it is indeed grease related and can be repaired perhaps it’s time for a petition towards SDOT of sorts?

  • Mike D November 14, 2011 (9:13 am)

    I drive that way every single day and there is an excessive amount of grease/oil/diesel in the curb lane that can be treacherous especially when it lightly rains after a couple of dry days. I have seen 2 people spin out going up hill. 1 at 3rd & Olsen and the other at 4th & Roxbury, both doing the speed limit and not doing anything other than driving. This is a known problem with SDOT. They had observers sitting at 3rd & Olsen earlier this year monitoring traffic and they have also scrubbed and cleaned the curb lane. I avoid that lane until I am at the top of the hill.

Sorry, comment time is over.